William F. Ludwig II (1917-2008)

William F. Ludwig II


The great William F. Ludwig II, a legend in the drumming community for seven decades, passed away over the weekend.

The former president of Ludwig Drum Company was well known for his contributions to drumming, both as an executive with Ludwig and as a player, clinician and author. He had a lifelong interest in the history of American percussion and was always eager to share that knowledge with young drummers and students. In the photo he presents the Beatles Ringo Starr with a gold-played Ludwig snare drum during the Beatles 1964 tour.

We received the following note on Monday from Jim Catalano of the Ludwig Company.

It is with deep regret that we report the passing of the patriarch of the Ludwig Drum Company, William F. Ludwig II, respectfully known as "The Chief." Bill was 91 years old and has been in declining health for a few years. The Chief passed from this Earth to his position as principal timpanist in heaven’s orchestra on Saturday, March 22nd, 2008. We can hear that thunderous roll now.

Bill Ludwig lived a long and productive life and was a mentor to so many percussionists and the music industry. He was a true leader that developed so many percussion products and marketing concepts to promote music and percussion education and further along the advancement of percussion instruments and performance throughout the world.

We are so blessed to have known and worked with this powerhouse of a man for his vision, dedication and passion for percussion. It is said that the greatest legacy that anyone can leave in this world is "making a difference." Well, Bill Ludwig made a difference in our world of drums and percussion that is legendary and we are all the heirs to his accomplishments.

Thank you Chief. You inspired us to carry on from here. You will be missed, but always remembered and honored.

Jim Catalano – Ludwig


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